Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Back to the Netherlands, a shot taken from the park near our home, and the 20th of mine to make Flickr Explore (the 500 most interesting shots of the day). A really great cloud formation, with the electricity lines providing a good subject rather than the distraction they often are. I went for black and white to further emphasize the line play in the sky.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1600)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 8.5 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


The hat shop

More of the softer side of German Expressionism: another great work by August Macke (1887-1914). Hat shops seem to have had a consistent attraction on him, and this is perhaps the best in his series on that theme. More on Macke in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vinyl art

A blog I discovered a few weeks ago thanks to a comment left by the owner (Daniel Edlen), and well worth checking out. It features his own art work of artists painted on the corresponding vinyl (for the younger crowd: that was what we had before CD's). A good example is the Beatles set shown above.

web site

For mentally disturbed teachers

Retro-rock is in, and Atlanta's Albinus jump on this with their debut album, For mentally disturbed teachers. Sceptics may point to a 35 minutes total playing time, but personally I prefer this over including fillers. Twelve hard hitting songs, soaring guitars, manic drums, and a hammond organ that must have taken some time to dust off. The lyrics are simple but that is fitting with their style. The album's closer, and their first single, is an intriguing cover of the Alice Cooper classic School's out. Give them a spin.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Albinus.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album. The random quote that came up was by Woody Allen: My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally disturbed teachers.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Heads Up, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Frosty 45 Black and BadaBoomBB 60 White, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reinterpreting old masters: Mary Waters

Thanks to Jenny Downing for alerting me to this one. Irish artist Mary Waters creates art in a structured unique way: she re-interprets old masters by photoshopping them into a more contemporary look, and then she prints her work on canvases that she has primed with 30 layers of paint, creating a wonderful sense of depth. The above example, her version of Vermeer's famous girl with pearl earring, gives a good impression of her work. More on her art in the linked web site.

web site


More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is an original shot created by their member beanfarmer for the Floral swap 5 contest - depicting flowers in all kind of places where you would not expect them.

All rights retained by the creator.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bamboo street

It is really fun to browse your old Flickr favourites once in a while. I faved this shot by fellow Flickrite *Cak Noor* almost two years ago, and I had frankly forgotten it completely. Excellent black and white rendition of an unusual theme. And with bamboo running wild in our garden at the moment, the theme really appeals to me right now.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Anton Corbijn

Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn (born 1955) has gained considerable fame in the world of pop and rock music: he was responsible for photography series of the likes of U2, Herbert Groenemeyer and Herman Brood - and directed many music videos as well, amongst others for Propaganda, David Sylvian, Echo & The Bunnymen and Golden Earring. The above portrait of jazz icon Miles Davis is perhaps his best known shot, and featured in a recent overview of most striking portraits of all time. More on Corbijn in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Lyon airport station

One of the most striking creations of one of the greatest living architects, Spain's Santiago Calatrava: the TGV station at the Saint-Exupery airport of the French city of Lyon, dating back to 1994. Fifteen years later it still looks futuristic! More on this building can be found in the wikipedia link below.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finzi, concerto master

How many private classical music collections feature the British master Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)? Yet for me Finzi's works would rank in the best 3 concertos ever writen for two fairly regular solo instruments, the cello and the clarinet. I could have picked the Naxos CD featuring his cello concerto and assorted other works as well, but in the end I decided to go for the one that contains the beautiful pastoral clarinet concerto full of lyricism and charm, though somewhat anachonistic for its year (1949). The main work lasts about 26 minutes, but the other tracks are far from being filler. In particular the Romance for string orchestra is a gorgeous piece, but the four other short pieces are well worth exploring. Great sound and excellent performance by clarinet player Robert Plane and the Northern Sinfonia under Howard Griffiths. A must hear composer if you like the British pastoral classical music scene.


Billie Jean (RIP Michael Jackson)

An unavoidable topic today. We will probably never know whether he was a twisted pervert or a supernaive manchild, but his music has made a great impact without doubt. Even though I do not like most of his output, the occasional song is well worth hearing. And none more than Billie Jean - a song I raped in a karaoke session in Shanghai last April. R.I.P.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)


Thursday, June 25, 2009


Sometimes you know the moment you take a shot: this will be one of the more popular ones you have taken. That happened to me last April when in the tourist trap that is Shanghai's Old Town I saw this stand selling fans. The combination of the shapes, colours and textures made this an obvious hit and my fellow Flickrites did not disappoint me: it became my 19th shot to reach Flickr Explore (the 500 most interesting shots of the day), and the second to make the top 100.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/2.4
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0



Erik Johansson, a 24 years old artist from Sweden, has drawn a lot of publicity recently with his photo art, including this article where I came across his works. There is more than a hint of Magritte in his work, which transforms his own photographs into surreal versions of reality. More on his art in his web site linked to below.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Time for another splendid shot by my favourite photographer on Flickr, aftab. A beautiful scene, captured in great light and with a well-balanced composition. Maybe not spectacular, but all around a very professional and pleasing photograph.

All rights retained by the photographer.


In absentia

If I elimnate the nostalgia factor of the decade I grew up in, I would have to admit that my all-time favourite rock group by now is no longer the prog version of Genesis or Pink Floyd, but Porcupine Tree. Their music is simply amazing, and their sense of art as evidenced by the album covers and the photographs on their web site is excellent as well. This cover is from their 2002 album In absentia, widely acclaimed as one of their best efforts. The stunning cover art is based on a photograph by Lasse Hoile.

All Music

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Starry sky

A recent work by my wife, and an obvious yet subtle hommage to Vincent van Gogh in the choice of colours and background - yet totally her own style. For those in Shanghai, this painting is currently exhibited at Nan chang Road 66, near the Yan dang Road in the Fuxing park area.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Monday, June 22, 2009


These buildings feature very often in my photostream, as I see them several times a day whilst walking the dog in the park near our home. However, I never saw them under the conditions depicted above until a few weeks ago: a beautiful blend of morning fog on the meadows and morning sunshine on the architecture.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 27.6 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Shadow art by Noble and Webster

Here is some contemporary art of a different style that I can really appreciate. British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster construct rubbish heaps that at first sight just seem ugly - until their shadows are projected on the wall. Their art does take a while to construct as you can imagine. The above creation "Dirty White Trash (With Gulls)" from 1998 uses six months’ worth of household waste plus a pair of dead seagulls for good measure, and took a further six months to realize their artistic idea. More on their fascinating shadow art in the linked web site.

web site

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Echo me

Another romantic image, evoking a dream feeling, by one of my favourite Flickr friends solea. This transcends regular photography into photoart, and quite effectively so.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Spiral staircase: the next generation

Spiral staircases have been popular for centuries, but modern designers find breathtaking ways of variations on this theme. Take this staircase in the Public Records Office of the Swiss city of Basel. More spiral staircase designs through the ages on the following site:

web site

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Millau bridge

Towering 270 m above the Tarn Valley in southern France, the Millau Bridge (or Millau Viaduct) is the largest cable-stayed vehicular bridge in the world. It is slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower, took three years to build and opened to the public in 2004. The bridge has a total length of 2.5 km with the longest single span at 342 m. An impressive technical feat, but also an impressive and elegant shape. More on this bridge in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Four beauties

To celebrate the return of my own Shanghai beauty to Holland, here we have Four Chinese beauties painted by Lin Fengmian (1900-1991). He was an early influence on the art of my wife and is considered a pioneer of modern Chinese painting for blending Chinese and Western painting styles - much like she is doing now. One of the tragic victims of the disastrous cultural revolution, he was forced to destroy most of his works. More on Lin in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Canyon in Regent's Canal

Street art of this type, with its three dimensional feeling, can be a real eye catcher - thanks to Jenny Downing for drawing my attention to this one. This particular photograph was recently shot in London's Regent's Canal as part of a safety campaign aimed at getting cyclists to slow down when using the towpath. For even more bewildering 3D street art, the highly recommended Oddee blog has a great entry on the subject.

web site

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sweetness forever

Macro photography is an area where I never really ventured into, also for lack of proper equipment. Most macro's on Flickr are honestly also not very interesting: shot after shot of flower close-ups with or without insects. It takes a real artist like my Flickr friend aftab. to come up with a great and original macro like this one. The subject? Sugar crystals, each no more than 1mm wide. The result? Simply fascinating helped by great composition and marvellous bokeh. A unique shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Photographers - overview

EDIT: obsolete, updated here.

Cecil Beaton

I came across this beautiful portrait of the attractive British actress Dorothy Tutin in the intriguingly named and very much worthwhile blog If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats. High time to pay hommage to the photographer responsible for it, Englishman Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), who had featured before in my blog before last year's purge. Rightly famous for his portraits, fashion and war photography. More on Beaton in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dumpr - more fun with your photographs

As a cool complementary site to the previously posted Photofunia, here is the site Dumpr. The free effects offered are less extensive, but I particularly like their option to create pictures of your photographs as if they were hanging in a museum. I have used one of my Impressions shots as illustration, and it does bring out the painting like quality even more when presented this way.

web site